Nonviolence in the Mahabharata: Siva’s Summa on Rishidharma and the Gleaners of Kurukshetra

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Routledge, Mar 22, 2016 - Religion - 175 pages
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In Indian mythological texts like the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa, there are recurrent tales about gleaners. The practice of "gleaning" in India had more to do with the house-less forest life than with residential village or urban life or with gathering residual post-harvest grains from cultivated fields. Gleaning can be seen a metaphor for the Mahābhārata poets’ art: an art that could have included their manner of gleaning what they made the leftovers (what they found useful) from many preexistent texts into Vyāsa’s “entire thought”—including oral texts and possibly written ones, such as philosophical debates and stories.

This book explores the notion of non-violence in the epic Mahābhārata. In examining gleaning as an ecological and spiritual philosophy nurtured as much by hospitality codes as by eating practices, the author analyses the merits and limitations of the 9th century Kashmiri aesthetician Anandavardhana that the dominant aesthetic sentiment or rasa of the Mahābhārata is shanta (peace). Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent reading of the Mahabharata via the Bhagavad Gita are also studied.

This book by one of the leaders in Mahābhārata studies is of interest to scholars of South Asian Literary Studies, Religious Studies as well as Peace Studies, South Asian Anthropology and History.

 

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Contents

gleaners were and are for real
1
2 Peace and nonviolence in the Mahābhārata
19
3 Śivas summa on gleaners
35
4 Gleaners and beggars Buddhist Jain and Brahmanical
50
5 Daṇḍaka forest
55
6 Approaching Balarāmas Tīrthayātrā and Kurukṣetra with three hypotheses
61
further towards a Mahābhārata ethnography
74
the Mahābhāratas chief holdout for gleaners
80
10 King Kuru and the Kurus
95
11 King Kuru at Kurukṣetra
107
12 Gleaners of the text
119
nonviolence and Śāntarasa enroute to Kurukṣetra
135
Glossary
155
Bibliography
158
Index
171
Copyright

9 The gleaning seam along Balarāmas route
85

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About the author (2016)

Alf Hiltebeitel is Columbian Professor of Religion, History, and Human Sciences in the Department of Religion at The George Washington University, USA.

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